Questions on Milk Kefir Grains

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  • From traci at 2/27/11 3:21 PM
    • Hi. Just wondering, if I were to buy an extra milk kefir and an extra water kefir, how long will they store on the shelf before needing to be opened and rehydrated (I am basically asking what is the shelf life or is there one..can it be stored and/ or stored on a shelf for later use if I buy extra?)

      Thank you, Traci
    • These grains are shelf-stable for at least a year at room temperature; longer in the refrigerator.
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  • From Tammy at 3/2/11 10:38 AM
    • I am new to almost everything that is natural / whole food eating, a baby of about a year if you will. We are trying to eat Gluten, Casein, and Soy free. I have been reading about the milk kefir and would like to try something like this, as almost everything with the probiotic is dairy. Can you tell me if there is any milk ingredients used in the process of the grains before we get them, or is just what we use to feed them? Sorry if the question sounds silly.
    • Our milk kefir grains are grown in organic whole milk and, while you can culture alternative milks with them, they do need to be revitalized regularly in dairy milk as lactose is what they eat. If you are trying to stay away from milk products, you might want to try water kefir, which is completely dairy-free, and also contains a variety of probiotic strains.
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  • From Bobbo at 3/4/11 1:56 PM
    • I have had Kefir for years. I ruined my grains (and my yogurts) and am looking for new.
      Are there different varieties? The two (free) replacements so far clot the fat and separate the whey. The smell is not good, although the grains look OK.
      My old batch (1 Tbs) would firm a quart of milk in 24 hours and smell warm(?) good and tart. Should it all act like this? What does yours do?
    • If you're having the same problem with a couple different batches of grains, I would suspect some other problem. What else has changed? The source of the milk? The temperature of the room? The utensils and containers you are using? Separation of the curds and whey is usually an indication of over-culturing: either too long, or too warm. If you'd like to send an email to us (use the Contact Us form), we can help you troubleshoot more specifically.
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  • From Sarah at 3/10/11 10:21 PM
    • I just got my kefir grains today and am very excited about using them! I have them reconstituting in a cup of milk, and just wanted to clarify the instructions of putting them in a "partially sealed container". Can I do the coffee filter with rubber band??? Or does it actually need to be a 'lid' that is loosely tightened???
    • A coffee filter secured by a rubber band is an excellent solution.
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  • From Sarah at 3/13/11 6:19 PM
    • Can the kefir grains be stored in the fridge for a short period of time if I want to take a break from making kefir??? Or what should I do with them if I want to take a short break?? I thought this info might be in the instructions, but couldn't find it! Thanks!
    • Sure, if you want to take a short break, you can leave the grains in a jar of milk in the refrigerator for at least a week; probably more. If you want a little longer break, just replace the milk in that jar. For an extended break, we have instructions for drying the grains:
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  • From Beth at 4/6/11 7:25 PM
    • I have been using a dried kefir powder and the results have been poor. I am interested in using your product. I am eating raw at this time and would like to know the best product to use for a raw almond or coconut kefir. If I am doing dairy free I am asuming that the Milk kefir would not produce as well in raw almond or raw coconut milk. I hate to make assumptions. Please advise.
    • Milk kefir grains work quite well with coconut milk. The only caveat is that they do need to be allowed to sit in cow or goat milk for 24 hours once every few batches to revitalize (also we ship kefir grains in a dehydrated shelf-stable state and they will need to be rehydrated and run through a few batches with cow or goat milk before they will be ready to work with coconut milk).

      Almond milk is a bit more of an issue. To be honest there really isn't a kefir culture that works well with almond milk. We've had some customers use milk kefir and water kefir grains but both ultimately yield inconsistent results.
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  • From Jeani at 4/8/11 12:15 PM
    • What's the minimum amount you could kefir and how much kefir grains would that take? (Can you use just 1/4 teaspoon of grains and thus kefir just one cup at a time?)
    • Many people find that kefering just a cup or a pint at a time is more convenient. There is not an exact proportion of grains to milk that is required.
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  • From gin at 4/20/11 9:02 PM
    • can I make almond yogurt with water kefir grains if I add sucanat for them to feed on?
    • You could try water kefir grains, but I'm afraid the added fat and protein from the nut milk would interfere with the kefiring process.

      To make almond milk yogurt, your best option is our Vegan Yogurt Starter. You can find it here:
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  • From carl at 4/24/11 8:55 PM
    • For about 7 months a year, the temperatures in my house exceed 80 F. Would this be a problem ? What is the maximum "operational" temperature ?
    • That's getting into the warmish range for kefir, and might cause too-rapid culturing. Check the kefir after 12 hours to see if it's ready. If you find that the kefir is starting to separate before it finishes culturing, you can try setting the jars in a shallow dish or pan of cool water. This will keep the milk a little cooler as it cultures.
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  • From anna at 4/26/11 5:24 PM
    • I am new to this idea, and would like to work with soy milk or almond milk. Can kefir be made from these? If so which grains (milk, or water) would you recommend?
    • I would recommend using the milk kefir grains for making non-dairy milk kefirs. Soy and coconut milk are the ones we recommend on our website, but you could try almond milk if you wish. When culturing with non-dairy milk, you must revitalize the grains in a dairy milk (goat or cow) every few batches to keep the grains viable.
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